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Weekly Writing Challenge: In An Instagram

Marilyn

Marilyn does not know this, but on the day I saw her sitting in a cold, folding chair in the homeless shelter, she changed my life.  She is a mousey, brown-haired, sophomore, who I later learned, comes to the shelter every Wednesday with her mother and her little brother.  She carries everything she owns in a beat-up backpack including her schoolbooks and pens.  After dinner is served, and the tables are cleaned, Marilyn gets right to work.   She spreads her notebook and her World History book out on the table and pretends that the rest of us do not exist.

My first night as a volunteer in our community shelter was eye-opening and humbling.  All the preconceived ideas I had about the type of people who frequented shelters were blown-away after ten minutes in the place.  Marilyn’s story was the most life changing.  One of my fellow volunteers shared what she knew about this young high school student with me.

It seems that Marilyn’s father died, and their house was foreclosed upon shortly after his death.  With no skills and no means to pay for the house, Marilyn’s mother moved the family in with her relatives.  When that no longer worked, they began moving from shelter to shelter every night.  Knowing that having a good education leads to better opportunity, Marilyn’s mother pushed her to keep up with her studies despite the circumstances.  Therefore, every evening, Marilyn and her family enter a community shelter, they eat dinner together, and she works on her studies.

Her classmates at school do not know that she showers, sleeps, and eats breakfast at a homeless shelter every day.  They do not know that sometimes Marilyn does not have the comforts of a TV, a phone, or a computer.  There are times when items such as clean socks or sanitary napkins are not available for this young girl.

To say that Marilyn is admirable is more than an understatement.  She is the epitome of words like courageous, determined, and invincible.  The things that she overcomes every day to be an honor student would break most people, but she perseveres.

Sometimes, we find heroes in the most unusual places.  I found mine in a homeless shelter.  It is my hope that Marilyn will finish high school and receive a scholarship to college.  A few of the volunteers at the shelter  pooled their resources together to help Marilyn and her family.  They found a permanent residence and even have had a fundraiser to help finance Marilyn’s college education.

I owe Marilyn much gratitude for changing my outlook. I clearly was ignorant.  I imagine that after you read this story, it will change yours, too.

Related Articles

http://chicenvelopements.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/one-very-long-cold-night-for-cooper/

http://expatalien.com/2012/11/12/life-can-change-in-an-instant/

http://kkline922.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/life-is-too-short-for-indecision-or-second-guessing-listen-to-your-intuition/

http://diannegray.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/souls-child-wins-ywo-book-of-the-year-award/

http://thewritericouldbe.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/the-instant-my-life-changed/

 

©Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Do you know your Memorial Day history?

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It is Memorial Day Eve.  Sgt. York, a great movie about a World War I hero is playing on the TV.  During a commercial break, my grandson asks me what Memorial Day is and why we celebrate the day. This inspired me to do a little research concerning the history of Memorial Day, and how Americans came to celebrate it. I found out some interesting information that I shared with my grandson and I thought my reader’s would also be interested in reading the reasons why Memorial Day is observed.

Sgt. York (1941)

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was a day declared three years after the Civil War to honor the deceased soldier’s graves with flowers. “Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.”

“Gen. Logan’s order for his posts to decorate graves in 1868 “with the choicest flowers of springtime” urged:

“We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. … Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”

According to an article in Military.com, the crowd attending the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery was approximately the same size as those that attend today’s observance, about 5,000 people. Then, as now, small American flags were placed on each grave — a tradition followed at many national cemeteries today. In recent years, the custom has grown in many families to decorate the graves of all departed loved ones.

Memorial Day was officially declared a Federal Holiday in 1967. On June 28, 1968, the Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May. The law took effect at the federal level in 1971.

 Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Some of the largest parades take place in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials.

Each year on Memorial Day, a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.  Please take the time to remember a soldier.

Here are a few other places to read about Memorial Day happenings:

Memorial Day on Main Street- http://mommeetsblog.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/memorial-day-on-main-street/

War Produces Heros- http://gyatoday.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/war-produces-heros/

 Memorial Day 2012- http://airportsmadesimple.com/2012/05/27/memorial-day-2012/

 A Memorial Day Tribute to My Grandfather- http://backseatwriter.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/a-memorial-day-tribute-to-my-grandfather/

Works Cited

Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade . (2012, 5 27). Retrieved from Explore Chicago The City of Chicago’s Official Tourism Site: http://www.explorechicago.org/city/en/things_see_do/event_landing/events/mose/memorial_day_parade.html

Hawks, H. (1941). Sgt. York. Retrieved 5 27, 2012, from http://www.sgtyork.org/Movie%20Stills/still6large.jpg

Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920 (from Duke University). (2012, May 27). Retrieved from American Memory: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?dukesm:58:./temp/~ammem_7vON::

Memorial Day. (2012, 5 27). Retrieved from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day

Memorial Day in New York. (2012, 5 27). Retrieved from About. Com New York City Travel: http://gonyc.about.com/od/springinnewyorkcity/a/memorial_day.htm

Military Advantage. (2012, 5 27). The History of Memorial Day. Retrieved from Military.com: http://www.military.com/memorial-day

National Memorial Day Parade. (2012, 5 27). Retrieved from http://www.nationalmemorialdayparade.com/

 

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and RedemptionUnbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of the most fascinating biography books; I have ever read. Written like a fiction novel, it relates the story of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic Track star who survives World War II as a hero.

Zamperini possesses a unique spirit and grit that allows him to survive his plane being shot down over the Pacific, 47 days adrift on a raft with two companions, and the internment in notorious Japanese POW camps. His quick mind and nimble body suffer untold horrors throughout his ordeals. Especially when Louie meets up with an evil Japanese jailor named “The Bird”.

Hillenbrand, the author, has extensively researched and interviewed Zamperini’s life. The book includes many photos, that have been saved by the Zamperini family and many illustrious stories of Louie. Laura Hillenbrand interviewed Louie 75 times and retells his life in a positive and descriptive story-like fashion.

You do not need to be a World War II buff to enjoy this amazing story of heroism, America, and survival. Read this book today!

View all my reviews

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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